Multiple (coordinated) (free) relatives


NATURAL LANGUAGE & LINGUISTIC THEORY, vol.34, no.2, pp.393-427, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11049-015-9306-8
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.393-427
  • Keywords: Coordinated wh-questions, Multiple (coordinated) relative pronouns, Free relatives, Headed relatives, QUESTIONS, SEMANTICS, ARGUMENT, ENGLISH
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Building on the existing crosslinguistic research on wh-questions with coordinated wh-pronouns, in this paper we turn to relative clauses and examine the effects of coordination on the grammaticality of relative clauses with multiple relative pronouns. We first discuss a general restriction on relativization, which bans multiple relativization from a single clause. We attribute this restriction to either a syntactic violation (impossible promotion of the head) or a semantic violation (semantic mismatch between the head and the relative clause). Next, we turn to free and headed relatives with coordinated wh-pronouns, showing that they do not display the same amount of crosslinguistic variation as wh-questions with coordinated wh-pronouns. In particular, irrespective of the availability of a mono-clausal structure for wh-questions with coordinated wh-pronouns in a language (which in turn correlates with the availability of multiple wh-fronting), a mono-clausal structure for free relatives with coordinated wh-pronouns is not available. In this respect, free relatives pattern with headed relatives rather than wh-questions. We derive this parallelism from a fundamental difference between relative clauses and questions: the presence of a CP external head in relative clauses, but not in wh-questions.